Monday, October 15, 2007

The news at the start of this week seems tailored to prick up MBP ears

The brewing diplomatic fracas between the US and Turkey. has of course special relevance for us. It seems that Democrats in the US congress have voted to declare the supression of Armenian peoples by the Turkish government during the First World War an act of genocide. If the gesture seems fairly meaningless to western eyes, it's seen rather differently in Turkey where, of course, Elif Shafak was arrested for having her characters in her latest novels discuss the issue. It's worth repeating: fictional characters having a discussion. Better news from Turkey is that the government is considering repealing the notorious Article 301 that prevents 'Insulting Turkishness' under which Elif was prosecuted. For an insight into the US's checkered relationship with Turkey Enlightenment by Maureen Freely is well worth a go.

There's a quote from Lao Tse:
'A leader is best when people barely know he exists'
which seems particularly apt when considering the 17th Chinese National Party Congress . Those confused by the apparent lack of a recognisable leader since the death of Deng Xiaoping could do a lot worse than pick up a copy of This May help You Understand The World and turning to the chapter 'How Do You Know Who is Charge in China? Which explains the situation rather well.

And just so don't think it's all frontlist, Radio Four is doing a particularly good series on the history of music. The most recent episode mentioning Stockhausen - who is of course one of our authors .


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